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Welcome to my website! This is a place for me to talk about myself and my professional life.

This is also a place for me to  make posts relating to activism.

How “Winning” Trans Rights Is A Loss For Trans POC

Bill C-16 received royal ascent a few days ago, and there are victory celebrations planned for this year’s Pride.  Royal Ascent is the final stage at which the colonial system forces its laws on occupied territory.  In a similar way, for about a decade privileged people forced this campaign on our community without reasonable feedback or community-wide consensus.
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Leading the charge for “Trans Rights” have been privileged white, cis and trans people.  Most trans POC, marginalized and homeless trans people were completely cut out of shaping the struggle for “trans rights”.  Political bills like this one are often deceptive.  They’re titled as something progressive, but the context and details are usually harmful for marginalized people.
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Political objectives and priorities differ and often conflict in the trans community, mostly depending on what privileges you can access, where you fall along the intersections of different axes of oppression, and your surrounding social circles.  For people who can align with and function within a colonial state, access to the mechanisms and institutions of a colonizing state are a priority.  The same mechanisms and institutions have a violent presence in the lives of marginalized people, and hence the priorities differ.
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For Trans POC, the priorities are to reduce violence, poverty, homelessness, targetting by police and unjust laws, forming and defining our own spaces free from colonizers, colonial institutions, colonial healthcare, colonial education, colonial responses to transphobic violence, colonial social services, colonial “shelters”, colonial narratives and instead, having the freedom to preserve and rebuild our many histories and cultures.  The bill that was passed in our name does little to address any of these interests, and instead introduces multiple barriers in our struggle to achieve these objectives, while deprioritizing others.
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The fact that there was an immense amount of political momentum that had to be built up over the years all over the country to get this bill passed, meant that a lot of social and political networks had to be created to align themselves with a political agenda that purported to represent all trans people in the entire country.  Those entire social and political networks now stand in a conflicting and hostile relationship with trans POC.
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What the specific changes in the bill did get right were to mandate anti-discrimination changes at a federal level that will result in trans people gaining greater access to government services like obtaining a passport or driver’s license, being able to access legal mechanisms in case of discrimination related to housing, education and work, and a symbolic change to hate crime laws that will at best have a negligible impact for marginalized trans people who are most often the targets of direct violence.
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For the most marginalized people in our community, a driver’s license or passport has little value when you don’t have the privilege to travel.  Being able to sue or access legal mechanisms is usually far too difficult, and sometimes virtually impossible, like when it comes to getting housing or accountability from a corrupt police force.  Framing the bill as being representative of all trans people and a major milestone in the struggle against the oppression of transpeople sends us the message that the priorities of Trans POC are unseen and negligible, and hence, Trans POC are unseen and negligible.
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Amending hate crime laws is especially insensitive and a symbolically racist move, as not only do these laws change very little in terms of the violence experienced by Trans Women of Color, but they also lend support to the prison-industrial complex, the fight against which lies at the very foundation of the resistance built up by POC.  An endorsement of this strategy (unsynchronized with IBPOC communities) undermines our strategies of creating justice through community accountability and anti-racist transformative justice.
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The upcoming celebrations and flag-raisings following the passing of this bill mark an end for the trans community.  Passing C-16 is the trans community’s “gay marriage”.  This is an endgame for privileged trans people, and the struggle left for them is to harness the system’s mechanisms to their advantage, while fine-tuning the groundwork laid by their narrative of what constitutes “trans rights” to make institutions and the rest of the trans population fall in line.
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For Trans POC, homeless and marginalized trans people, our struggle for safety and community has been pushed into a future that is uncertain and dangerous, while being accompanied by fewer allies.  It isn’t a coincidence that at last year’s Trans Day of Remembrance flag-raisings, Trump was quoted in the context of positive social change for trans people, while police were used to kick out trans women of color from criticizing the events.
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In the name of progress our community has shifted to the Right, which I’m told is a hallmark of neo-liberalism.  Not being an educated woman, I can’t speak to these types of political theories.  I mourn for the losses in our community, and the loss of community.  I’ve rarely had access to safety, housing and community for almost my entire life, and these days I’m trying to navigate an ever complex changing political reality.  I try to remember and honor the street folks, homeless and trans people/friends/family whose lives were tragically cut short, but end up fearing what appears to multiple fronts of approaching escalating violence.
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I hope that more of us can take a pause from the colonizer’s celebrations who brought over transphobia in the first place, be those celebrations in the form of passing a bill to stifle trans community, or 150 years of genocide, theft and occupation of a people who knew no homelessness and valued and celebrated two-spirited people.
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Kylie Brooks
Abuzar Chaudhary

Is Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot really that great?

I’m sure many of you have heard of the pilot that Ontario is going to do on Basic Income. It seems great, but I need to bring two things up for public discussion that I discovered recently,

Recently I came across the Income Security Advocacy Centre’s backgrounder, “Ontario’s Basic Income Pilot Project: What will it mean for people on social assistance?” (Word document)

* Social assistance means Ontario Works (OW, aka welfare) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP, aka disability) together.

In this backgrounder, there are two critical points that I would like to bring up for public discussion. I have not yet seen these be discussed and it is important that these be discussed, because these two points affect Disabled people.

What are these points?

Both points from the backgrounder.

First one is as follows:

Q. Can I get both social assistance and the basic income?
No. People who are selected to apply for the Basic Income Pilot Project will have to decide whether or not to stay on social assistance or go on basic income. If a person decides to go on basic income, they will have to withdraw from social assistance.

Second one:

Q. Which OW or ODSP benefits can I keep if I participate in the basic income pilot, and which will I lose?
The government has said that people who decide to leave OW or ODSP and be part of the Basic Income Pilot Project will be able to keep their drug benefits, and people on ODSP will be able to keep their dental benefits. This is good news, because a lot of people on social assistance rely on these important benefits.

All other benefits available through OW or ODSP will not be kept, including:

  • Special Diet Allowance

  • Remote communities allowance

  • Mandatory Special Necessities (MSN) – including diabetic supplies, medical and surgical supplies, including incontinence supplies, and medical travel

  • Vision benefits (i.e., glasses, repairs, exams)

  • Hearing aids and other supports, like visual alerting systems

  • Service dog benefit

  • Assistive devices co-payment coverage

  • Employment supports, including the Work-Related Benefit and other benefits

  • Up-front child care costs

Follow the law all you want, but please know:

If you haven’t been arrested yet, it was not because you followed the law. It is solely due to privilege and/or luck.

In lands occupied by colonizers, laws are made by/for them. If they break the law, they can get away with it in various ways.

The colonial terror that us original peoples (Black Africans, Indigenous peoples, etc etc) live through daily as a result of the police is a method of power and control. This terror does not come from our actions or words.

The justification colonizers use is helping us, but they know we were fine before they colonized us. They only want us and our lands.

My demands for white friends

CW: religion, Bible, and Xtianity

So, today I have been thinking about white people in general. Honestly, I am tired of y’all. I love people in general. And I just want to say that these two are not contradictory. Change needs to happen STAT.

Now, I just want to be very clear before I discuss that further. Millions of ways exist to effect change, you don’t have to be an activist.

So another thing to be clear on, there is a particular definition of love as promoted by white people that sucks and changes nothing. I’m not all about that. Now, I’ll be taking some things from the Bible. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

  • I’m not all about: Patience. You white people ask us to be patient. Us Black people, separately, choose to wait. For what though? We get 0. We have been patient for too long. ENOUGH!
  • I’m not all about: Kindness. Kindness to White people kills us Black people.
  • I’m not all about: Selflessness. Being selfless for white people, is that really necessary? Time to start taking care of ourselves now.
  • I’m not all about: Being hard to anger. This world is incredibly anti black, and that needs to change!
  • I’m not all about: Forgetting the anti blackness that happens to us ALL. THE. TIME.
  • I’m not all about: protecting, trusting in, hoping for and persevering for White people to change. Black people must stop doing that!

What I AM definitely all about: Not delighting in evil and rejoicing in truth.

White people have consistently perpetrated untold amounts of evil for hundreds of years. That is the truth, and that evil needs to stop. This evil has been perpetrated upon various Original Peoples of the world, including but not limited to the peoples who founded humanity: African people and their descendants, of which I am one. African people are the Orignal people of all humanity.

So, change needs to begin happening. As such, much must be demanded of y’all White people. Demand, not request. As I said, kindness is killing us, and we must do this or y’all will eventually wipe us out. And that’s not humanity…

My demands:

  1. I demand that y’all pay reparations of all kinds – not only money – to us. Reparations for stolen labour. Give us things. Etc. In other words, we get to live for what amounts to free.
  2. I demand that you abolish the police and figure out better ways to keep everyone safe. Because the cops aren’t it.
  3. I demand that you learn about anti blackness and that you work to eventually remove anti blackness from your people, European ppl.
  4. I demand that you abolish prison and figure out better ways to deal when someone does something immoral. Prisons are anti black.
  5. I demand that you abolish race, which leads to the evil that you caused and continue to cause globally. From mind and society.
  6. I demand that you stop feeling entitled to emotional labour from Black people.
  7. I demand that you be accountable to Black people to carry out these demands.
  8. I demand that you learn about other oppressions and work to abolish them as well. No one is free until we all are free.
  9. I demand that you stop saying that we are suffering bc of our choices and start saying that we are suffering bc of you.
  10. I demand that you begin working on any of these or some of these or anything related in whatever way you can. There are literally millions of ways you can help. Also, if you stop thinking only about your resources, other people can help too.

If you refuse to participate yourself in whatever way you can and you refuse to ask for help, I do not want to be your friend. Because nothing is worth the loss of African people from the planet that all humans call home.

 

 

Lack of interpreters with differing identities in Toronto – a problem!

Here in Toronto, there is a lack of hearing and Deaf ASL (American Sign Language) interpreters with differing identities and that is not okay.

ASL interpreters are only people – lived experience affects our human ability to understand information. ASL interpreters cannot be completely neutral. What they can do is pass on messages between two other people.

This gap means that the existing ASL interpreters cannot communicate effectively as they do not understand what is being said.

For example, should I expect a straight ASL interpreter to understand me when I talk about queer issues? Is that realistic? (There are exceptions of course, but I am not talking about the exceptions.)

Black students in interpreter programs like at George Brown College in Toronto are often marginalized from the program, as such very few students graduate from the program.

Regarding this, as an example I was once in the Social Service Worker program at Seneca College for a semester before I quit. All the hearing interpreters I used were White. Can a white interpreter really interpret for an entire profession that was created by Black women? A lot of students in the classes I took were not white. Can a white interpreter effectively interpret between me and them???

Think about that.

Image Description for “What you’re paying for when you hire a musician”

What you’re paying for when you hire a musician

Description of the image in the link:

[Image: Title “Hiring a musician? Or asking them to perform at your event?”

What you think you’re paying for:

– Someone to perform some music

What you are actually paying for:

– Someone to perform some music, plus:
– Equipment and instruments.
– Hours of rehersal time.
– Rehersal space.
– Transportation to and from the venue.
– The amount of money spent on lessons and training to become the musicians that they are.
– Promotion and website costs.
– The percentage that goes to income taxes.
– Telephone and internet bills spent organizing the performance and its rehersals.
– Any manager, agent, or other booking fees.
– Insurance.

Not to mention…

– The payment also has to cover food, housing, bills, and all other living expenses.

Still think that offering “exposure” and experience is a fair price?

You wouldn’t expect a plumber, carpenter, hairdresser, doctor, dentist, optician, electrician, chef, mechanic, dressmaker or shop owner to work for free, would you?

SHARE THIS WITH EVERYONE AND GET THE MESSAGE ACROSS]

Content Use Policy

Due to a recent theft of one of my tweets by Mic News, I am unfortunately forced to write this policy. I shouldn’t have to. Sadly, theft is the reality of existing in this misogynoirist world with people who aren’t Black women being socially conditioned to feel entitled to Black women, our words and our very existence.

What you are allowed to do

  • Share my blog posts and tweets on social media
  • Point others to my blog posts and tweets.
  • Quote a paragraph or sentence of a blog post with a link to that post and credit

What you are NOT allowed to do

  • Plagiarize my tweets or blog posts in school papers or assignments
  • Screenshot my tweets or blog posts for public posting on the Internet
  • If you are a journalist for a medium or big media company: Take a tweet or the entirety of a blog post and post it to your public media site without:
    • contacting me for permission, AND
    • paying me $100 to $200 for each tweet and $200 to $400 for each full blog post, PWYC.

If you want to use my content in a way not listed in either section, please contact me first to ask for permission. If my permission is conditional on  financial compensation, you must pay up before using it in the way that you are requesting.

If you use content in a way you are not allowed to, there will be consequences for being misogynoirist and/or breaking international copyright law. These consequences include but are not limited to:

  • Your content being taken down.
  • Getting a zero on your school paper or assignment.
  • Being publicly shamed
  • Loss of reputation
  • Loss of job
  • Loss of academic credentials

Several reasons I don’t vote in elections

Several reasons I’m not interested in voting in any election:

  • Anti-Indigenity.
  • Anti-Blackness.
  • Disappointment in candidates that win due to first two things, general oppression and lack of (pro-)intersectional analysis
  • My interests and the interests of candidates do not align
  • Community work is important

“Normative” – meaning as used in social justice

We see the words …

  • heteronormative
  • cisnormative
  • amatonormative
  • etc

What does “normative” mean? This word combines two things:

  • The root word, “norm.”
  • The suffix -ative, meaning “tending to.”

So “normative” means tending to the norm.

What norm? Cultural norm. What is a cultural norm?

The definition of cultural norm:

Cultural norms are the standards we live by. They are the shared expectations and rules that guide behavior of people within social groups. Cultural norms are learned and reinforced from parents, friends, teachers and others while growing up in a society. – Cultural Norms: Do they Matter? @ http://www.globalcognition.org/cultural-norms/

Before I continue any further, see the word “cultural?” This word combines two things:

  • The root word, “culture”
  • The suffix -al, meaning “of or relating to.”

So, standards we live by that are related to the culture(s) we live in. That’s what cultural norms are. But what does culture mean?

Broadly, social heritage of a group (organized community or society). It is a pattern of responses discovered, developed, or invented during the group’s history of handling problems which arise from interactions among its members, and between them and their environment. These responses are considered the correct way to perceive, feel, think, and act, and are passed on to the new members through immersion and teaching. Culture determines what is acceptable or unacceptable, important or unimportant, right or wrong, workable or unworkable. It encompasses all learned and shared, explicit or tacit, assumptions, beliefs, knowledge, norms, and values, as well as attitudes, behavior, dress, and language. What is culture? http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/culture.html

So, let’s sum up everything so far that I’ve written:

Standards in a culture – cultural norms – exist in context of how a cultural group handles problems. These standards are determined to solve problems within members or between them and the environment, and they are perpetuated through immersion and teaching. Because these standards solve those aforementioned problems, they are considered the correct way to perceive, feel, think, and act. Standards – cultural norms – are one part of a culture, which also includes all learned and shared, explicit or tacit, assumptions, beliefs, knowledge, values, attitudes, behavior, dress and language.

But Kylie, what’s wrong with cultural norms? Why do we have heteronormative, cisnormative, etc if  your summary says that problems were solved through heteronormativity, cisnormativity, etc?

Nothing is wrong inherently with cultural norms! The problem with heteronormativity, cisnormativity, and the like is that they are oppressive. In context of this Western White supremacist capitalist abled cisheteronormative patriarchy, all people are exposed to oppressive cultural norms that harm Black people, Indigenous people, other people of color, non-Western people, non-monied people, disabled people, queer and trans people and non-men.

When a cultural norm is combined with prejudice and power to impose these prejudices systematically, that is where they can be harmful. Hence heteronormativity, cisnormativity, amatonormativity, etc.

Why #SelfDxIsValid

Some reasons why self diagnoses (self dxes) are valid, in context of disability/neurodivergence/acute illness/chronic illness:

  • We diagnose ourselves already. Examples:
    • minor medical problems (eg the cold, broken bones)
    • allergies
    • neurotypicality
    • transness
  • It can help with a prof dx (professional diagnosis)
  • Prof dxes are not accessible financially or equitably to all.
  • Some people do not trust the medical system.
  • External validation not needed for dx
  • Services not available for certain segments of the population
  • Need access to disability/ND/sick community now not later
  • A diagnosis is not inherently medical. It is a group of things under one name.